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Image sensor and electronic device including the same

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20140055635 patent thumbnailZoom

Image sensor and electronic device including the same


An image sensor includes a sensing device including a pixel array having a plurality of unit pixels, the sensing device being configured to generate pixel data in response to an incident light signal having information of an image of an object and information of an ambient light; an image data generation unit configured to generate image data corresponding to the object based on the pixel data; and an illuminance data generation unit configured to generate illuminance data corresponding to the ambient light based on the pixel data.
Related Terms: Electronic Device Inanc Incident Light

USPTO Applicaton #: #20140055635 - Class: 3482221 (USPTO) -


Inventors: Jong-seok Seo

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20140055635, Image sensor and electronic device including the same.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

This application claims priority under 35 USC §119 to Korean Patent Application No. 10-2012-0091084, filed on Aug. 21, 2012 in the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field

Example embodiments relate to an image sensor, and more particularly to an image sensor that is able to measure illuminance and an electronic device including the image sensor.

2. Description of the Related Art

Charge coupled device (CCD) image sensors and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors have been used as devices for capturing an image of an object. Image sensors convert light signals into electric signals. Recently, as various kinds of electronic devices include image sensors, image sensors are required to measure illuminance of ambient light as well as to capture an image of an object.

SUMMARY

Some example embodiments are directed to provide an image sensor that is able to capture an image of an object and to measure illuminance of ambient light.

Some example embodiments are directed to provide an electronic device including the image sensor.

According to example embodiments, an image sensor includes a sensing unit, an image data generation unit, and an illuminance data generation unit. The sensing unit includes a pixel array having a plurality of unit pixels, and generates a pixel data in response to an incident light signal having information of an image of an object and information of an ambient light. The image data generation unit generates an image data corresponding to the object based on the pixel data. The illuminance data generation unit generates an illuminance data corresponding to the ambient light based on the pixel data.

In example embodiments, the illuminance data generation unit may generate the illuminance data based on an angle of view of the image sensor that is used for generating the image data.

The image data and the illuminance data may be generated at substantially the same time.

In example embodiments, the pixel array may include a plurality of ambient light sensing units each of which includes at least two adjacent unit pixels among the plurality of unit pixels, and the illuminance data generation unit may select effective sensing units among the plurality of ambient light sensing units by performing a crop operation and a sub-sampling operation on the pixel array, and generate the illuminance data based on effective pixel data, which correspond to the effective sensing units, among the pixel data.

The illuminance data generation unit may include a spectrum response compensation unit configured to extract the effective pixel data among the pixel data, and to generate a luminance data based on the effective pixel data, an automatic exposure adjustment unit configured to generate an exposure control signal, which is used for controlling an exposure time of the plurality of unit pixels, based on the luminance data, and a calculation unit configured to generate the illuminance data based on the luminance data and the exposure control signal.

The pixel data may include a plurality of pixel values corresponding to the plurality of unit pixels, respectively, and the luminance data may include a plurality of luminance values corresponding to the effective sensing units, respectively. The spectrum response compensation unit may generate a first luminance value corresponding to a first effective sensing unit based on pixel values, which correspond to unit pixels included in the first effective sensing unit, and gains for the unit pixels included in the first effective sensing unit.

The illuminance data may be proportional to a sum of the plurality of luminance values and inversely proportional to the exposure time of the plurality of unit pixels.

The illuminance data generation unit may further include a control unit configured to control the spectrum response compensation unit, the automatic exposure adjustment unit and the calculation unit.

Unit pixels included in a same effective sensing unit may include at least one of a red filter, a green filter and a blue filter.

Unit pixels included in a same effective sensing unit may include at least one of a yellow filter, a magenta filter and a cyan filter.

In example embodiments, the image data generation unit and the illuminance data generation unit may be embodied in one data processing unit.

In example embodiments, the image sensor may further comprise a mode selection unit configured to activate one of the image data generation unit and the illuminance data generation unit in response to a mode selection signal.

In example embodiments, the sensing unit may further include a correlated double sampling (CDS) unit configured to generate a plurality of CDS signals by performing a CDS operation on a plurality of analog pixel signals provided from the pixel array, and an analog-to-digital conversion unit configured to generate the pixel data by digitalizing the plurality of CDS signals.

In example embodiments, the image sensor may be a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor.

According to example embodiments, an electronic device includes an image sensor and a display device. The image sensor generates an image data corresponding to an object and illuminance data corresponding to an ambient light in response to an incident light signal having information of an image of the object and information of the ambient light. The display device displays the object based on the image data and the illuminance data. The image sensor includes a sensing unit, an image data generation unit, and an illuminance data generation unit. The sensing unit includes a pixel array having a plurality of unit pixels, and generates a pixel data in response to the incident light signal. The image data generation unit generates the image data based on the pixel data. The illuminance data generation unit generates the illuminance data based on the pixel data.

According to at least one example embodiment, an image sensor may include a sensing device including a pixel array having a plurality of unit pixels, the sensing device being configured to generate pixel data in response to an incident light signal having information of an image of an object and information of an ambient light; an image data generation unit configured to generate image data corresponding to the object based on the pixel data; and an illuminance data generation unit configured to generate illuminance data corresponding to the ambient light based on the pixel data.

The illuminance data generation unit may be configured to generate the illuminance data based on an angle of view of the image sensor that is used for generating the image data.

The image data generation unit and the illuminance data generation unit may be configured such that the image data and the illuminance data are generated at substantially the same time.

The pixel array may include a plurality of ambient light sensing units each of which includes at least two adjacent unit pixels among the plurality of unit pixels, and the illuminance data generation unit may be configured to select effective sensing units among the plurality of ambient light sensing units by performing a crop operation and a sub-sampling operation on the pixel array, and configured to generate the illuminance data based on effective pixel data, which correspond to the effective sensing units, among the pixel data.

The illuminance data generation unit may include a spectrum response compensation unit configured to extract the effective pixel data among the pixel data, and to generate a luminance data based on the effective pixel data; an automatic exposure adjustment unit configured to generate an exposure control signal based on the luminance data; and a calculation unit configured to generate the illuminance data based on the luminance data and the exposure control signal, the sensing device being configured to control an exposure time of the plurality of unit pixels based on the exposure control signal.

The pixel data may include a plurality of pixel values corresponding to the plurality of unit pixels, respectively, the luminance data may include a plurality of luminance values corresponding to the effective sensing units, respectively, and the spectrum response compensation unit may be configured to generate a first luminance value corresponding to a first effective sensing unit based on pixel values, which correspond to unit pixels included in the first effective sensing unit, and gains for the unit pixels included in the first effective sensing unit.

The illuminance data may be proportional to a sum of the plurality of luminance values and inversely proportional to the exposure time of the plurality of unit pixels.

The illuminance data generation unit may further include a control unit configured to control the spectrum response compensation unit, the automatic exposure adjustment unit and the calculation unit.

Unit pixels included in a same effective sensing unit may include at least one of a red filter, a green filter and a blue filter.

Unit pixels included in a same effective sensing unit may include at least one of a yellow filter, a magenta filter and a cyan filter.

The image data generation unit and the illuminance data generation unit are embodied in one data processing unit.

The image sensor may further include a mode selection unit configured to activate one of the image data generation unit and the illuminance data generation unit in response to a mode selection signal.

The sensing unit may further includes a correlated double sampling (CDS) unit configured to generate a plurality of CDS signals by performing a CDS operation on a plurality of analog pixel signals provided from the pixel array; and an analog-to-digital conversion unit configured to generate the pixel data by digitalizing the plurality of CDS signals.

The image sensor may be a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor.

According to at least one example embodiment, an electronic device may include an image sensor configured to generate image data corresponding to an object and illuminance data corresponding to an ambient light in response to an incident light signal having information of an image of the object and information of the ambient light, the image sensor including, a sensing unit including a pixel array having a plurality of unit pixels, the sensing unit generating a pixel data in response to the incident light signal, an image data generation unit configured to generate the image data based on the pixel data, and an illuminance data generation unit configured to generate the illuminance data based on the pixel data; and the electronic device may further include a display device configured to display the object based on the image data and the illuminance data.

According to at least one example embodiment, an image capture device may include a pixel array including a plurality of pixels, the pixel array being configured to convert light incident on the pixel array into pixel data, the incident light including light corresponding to an object and ambient light; an image data generation unit configured to generate image data corresponding to the object based on the pixel data; and an illuminance data generation unit configured to generate illuminance data corresponding to the ambient light based on the pixel data.

The illuminance data generation unit may be configured to generate the illuminance data based on an angle of view of the image sensor that is used for generating the image data.

The pixel array may include a plurality of ambient light sensing units, each of which includes at least two adjacent pixels among the plurality of pixels, the illuminance data generation unit may be configured to select, as effective sensing units, a sub set of the plurality of ambient light sensing units by performing a crop operation and a sub-sampling operation on the pixel array, and the illuminance data generation unit may be configured to generate the illuminance data based on effective data, the effective data being data, from among the pixel data, that corresponds to the pixels of the effective sensing units.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other features and advantages of example embodiments will become more apparent by describing in detail example embodiments with reference to the attached drawings. The accompanying drawings are intended to depict example embodiments and should not be interpreted to limit the intended scope of the claims. The accompanying drawings are not to be considered as drawn to scale unless explicitly noted.

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an image sensor according to example embodiments.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of a sensing unit included in the image sensor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a circuit diagram illustrating an example of a unit pixel included in a sensing unit of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an example of an illuminance data generation unit included in the image sensor of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 5, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 7A and 7B are diagrams for describing an operation of a spectrum response compensation unit included in an illuminance data generation unit of FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating an image sensor according to example embodiments.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram illustrating an image sensor according to example embodiments.

FIG. 10 is a flow chart illustrating a method of driving an image sensor according to example embodiments.

FIG. 11 is a flow chart illustrating an example of a step of generating illuminance data of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a block diagram illustrating an electronic device according to example embodiments.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20140055635 A1
Publish Date
02/27/2014
Document #
13943033
File Date
07/16/2013
USPTO Class
3482221
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
04N5/235
Drawings
11


Electronic Device
Inanc
Incident Light


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